'Never felt more comfortable in my skin' - Alien Weaponry bass player's mataora

By Whatitiri Te Wake

Turanga Porowini Morgan-Edmonds has just returned from the United States with Alien Weaponry where they have been touring with French meta band Gojira.

Last week, surrounded by his whānau, the 22-year-old bass player received his mataora from moko artist Lance Ngata. He says receiving it was the best feeling, and it means everything to him.

“I’ve always loved moko since I was a child. A year ago I started contemplating it seriously, started talking with my whanau.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lance Ngata (@lance_ngata)

“My uncle has his mataora, and I remember seeing it for the first time as a child, and loved it as an art form.”

He didn’t embark on the journey of receiving his mataora alone. After much deliberation, his mother Tania also received her moko kauae, making it a whānau affair.

“She particularly only felt comfortable doing it together, and us doing it together gave her the strength to do it,” he said.

Unwelcome reactions

As liberating as the experience was for him, he says that he has already experienced unwelcome reactions from the public.

“Six months ago, I had to prepare myself for how I will be treated in public. It’s been a week, and when I walk down the shops and I get the glares and the stares, not in a good way either,” he said.

“If you're not prepared for those sorts of outcomes, then it's something that you should get done yet.”

After a year of touring with the band across the US, he says there is a huge appreciation for the band’s Te Reo Māori songs and culture in every show they perform.

“It's an incredible feeling, considering we don’t get the same love in our own country.”

“In my Instagram DM’s I get people saying, 'look I live in Venezuela, how can I learn Te Reo Māori' and then we look at the comment section under our articles and it’s not the same positivity.”

Alien Weaponry have just under one million listeners on Spotify from 150 countries. They are now preparing to embark on their Europe tour, leaving on January 17.